Matt Adams, host of Fairways of Life, interview Golf Datatech’s Tom Stein to discuss the health of the golf industry in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
To celebrate the return of the PGA TOUR this week at the Charles Schwab Challenge, Travis Fulton and DraftKings have partnered to help fans get back into the swing of Daily Fantasy Sports.
Fulton will produce and post a new show, The Match Up, each Wednesday to his Instagram and YouTube channels to guide viewers through the tournament and course at hand, four key head to head matchs to consider and finally, Travis’ personal line up for the week.
Viewers can use the promo code “Travis” to establish their account and receive a free entry into that week’s 2.5 Million Dollar contest with 1 Million Dollars to the winner.
The first episode of The Match Up Presented by Draft Kings:
As the PGA TOUR returns at Colonial Country Club this week for the Charles Schwab Challenge, Matt Adams and Ben Hogan Golf visited the famed “Hogan Room” in the clubhouse of Colonial Country Club.
Brandon Matthews doesn’t want to be known for one thing. But he is: The hug he gave a fan with Down syndrome whose involuntary shriek bothered his short putt that would have extended a playoff at the 2019 Argentina Open, where the winner received a spot in the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s. That’s the only reason anyone who remembers the ending to the story, told in heartwarming detail on “The Today Show,” knows who he is, as well as the only reason he’s getting his first PGA Tour start this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
Among people who actually follow golf’s minor leagues, Matthews is known for a different thing: A guy who hits it crazy far.
“I think the rest of my game is pretty good, so it’s a shame that gets overlooked sometimes,” Matthews says, who is 25 years old and built like an athlete at 6’4″ and 215 pounds. “But hopefully it’ll get recognized in due time.”
Philadelphia humble, Matthews is reluctant to talk about his life as a bomber. But his girlfriend, Danielle, sums up his game best. “He makes grown men giggle.”
Matthews’ agent, Drew Carr of Fidelity Sports Group, tells a story about testing equipment with a major manufacturer in Carlsbad. They were on the range hitting balls, having a nice time, when the technician excused himself to fetch a replacement launch monitor. The Trackman he was using either wasn’t calibrated correctly or had a failing battery. But after he returned with the new machine and got it set up, the tech’s mild agitation turned to wonder. With a 3-wood, the machine displayed Matthews’ ball speed as consistently around 186 to 188 miles per hour.
“We don’t have anyone on our global tour staff with that ball speed with a driver,” the technician stammered.
After flaming out on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019, making just four of 21 cuts although leading in driving distance at 331.3 yards, Matthews hooked up with instructor Dale Gray, an Aussie who used to coach one of golf’s more successful short-knockers, Tim Clark. Gray works out of the Chelsea Piers driving range in Manhattan, and he says Matthews could fly a limited-flight ball over the net and into the Hudson River from the ground-floor bays. “At cruising speed he’s swinging the driver 130 mph and flying it 350 yards in the air,” Gray says. Carr says he’s clocked Matthews with a 200-mph ball speed with a driver.
Long drives are golf’s equivalent of fishing stories. It was this big someone indicates with their hands. Even official stats are problematic with the vagaries of altitude, turf conditions and the limited number of holes measured. But I can personally attest to Matthews’ power. I’ve been wondering what became of him since we were paired in the medal-play portion of the 2013 U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. I was then 31, newly married with an office job and about to start a family, and so essentially was a senior citizen among the Division I hotshots lining the range. But I was ready to see how my weekend game stacked up against the new generation. This feeling of pluck lasted exactly two holes, until the first par 5, when Matthews outdrove me by 110 yards. I paced it off. Across two days, he was consistently about a buck ahead of me.
One of the few times I wrestled away the honors from Matthews, I hit a solid (for me) and well-placed (for anyone) driver on a dogleg-left par 4. “Three-iron at his ball,” Matthews’ caddie said oblivious to my feelings. The tee shot whistled just past mine, and inside I wept.
Matthews would go on to make the quarterfinals of that Amateur, won by Matthew Fitzpatrick. Earlier that summer, Matthews played his way into first-alternate for the U.S. Open at Merion, but did not get in. After graduating from Temple University, he turned pro in 2016 and won his second-career start on PGA Tour Latinoamerica. Despite all this talent, he’s earned his first career PGA Tour start not because of his game but because of his character, as the Palmer family recognized in his gesture in Argentina what Arnie might’ve done.
Yet I’m still haunted. “Be brutally honest with me,” I now ask Matthews. “Am I the shortest hitter you’ve ever played with in a sanctioned event?”
“No, definitely not. You’re not giving yourself enough credit,” Matthews laughs. I have the feeling he’s treating me like he did the Argentine fan. It’s OK, bud, it’s just the Open.
“Have you ever played with anyone who’s longer than you?”
Matthews recalls nine practice holes he once played with Cam Champ. “That’s about as close as it gets. He might get me on a firmer day with how penetrating his ball-flight is. But soft conditions with no wind, my carry distance might be a little more than his.”
‘He makes grown men giggle.’ —Matthews’ girlfriend on how far he hits a golf ball
Of course, Champ is a year younger and already has two PGA Tour wins. To catch up, Matthews has dedicated himself to a swing overhaul to improve his consistency and save his lower back. Dale Gray describes the original move as: “He rolled the club inside on the takeaway, then at the top lifted his arms up to where the face was quite open, then on the way down got steep and stuck on the inside, then would extend early with his body through impact to create some room. His miss was high and right. Obviously, with his ball speed, any miss is going to be pretty much off the golf course.
“Now he’s got the club more in front of his body on the way down,” Gray says. “With his amazing athleticism, his ability to maximize the full potential of his hands, arms and body working together, it’s fun to watch.” Gray has also thrown the 3-wood and 5-wood out of Matthews’ bag. “When he can carry his 2-iron 290, there’s no need for those.”
After scouting Bay Hill, Matthews’ options at the 555-yard par sixth will probably either be 2-iron off the tee followed by a 3-iron into the green, or a driver followed by a 7- or 8-iron. Matthews also has a number of par 4 greens he might try to drive. Carr shakes his head no, playing the part of beleaguered agent. “We just got to get the horse in the starting paddock.”
Barring a sensational week at Bay Hill that changes his schedule, Matthews is preparing for the 2020 season of PGA Tour Latinoamerica. “There’s a new rule this year where three wins equates instant promotion to the Korn Ferry, so I’ve got my eye on that,” he says.
That would be something to be known for.
It has been quite the professional golf career for Will Wilcox, and in some ways, it’s just getting started – again.
Wilcox is back on the course after eight months of sitting on the sidelines with an injured wrist. He’s also newly engaged, fresh off of three months living and trying to work on his game at the stunning Carambola Golf Club on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands thanks to General Manager Michael Wysocki and Director of Golf Kevin Ferris.
A former TOUR player, Alabama amateur star, winner on both the Mackenzie Tour (2010) and Korn Ferry Tour (2013), and member of both the 59 club (final round, 2013 Utah Championship) and the ace club on the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass’ PLAYERS Stadium Course, it has been quite the ride for Wilcox over the last decade.
But now it’s time to see what’s next, and how he can get back to the biggest stage in golf. Through two events on the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour schedule, he’s showing no signs of lingering pain issues, after finishing T16-T13 at the two events in the Bahamas.
Wilcox, who in the spirit of living the good life is attending Tuesday night’s Tool concert in Atlanta before flying to the Panama Championship on Wednesday, spent a few minutes with PGA TOUR Digital to chat about returning from injury, his recent engagement, his inspirational mom, and more.
You’re coming back from a long time away due to injury. How are you feeling?
Starting the year on a medical is always nerve-wracking. But in September I had a plan to go to St. Croix, again, which had always been my recipe for success. In 2013, the year I got my Korn Ferry Tour card, I spent 90 days there, and (in 2019) I spent 100 days there. I was in St. Croix training and living on an island … it was all about preparation.
Before, I got my card and I became a couch potato. I got my card and I got lazy. I had some good years being lazy (laughs) so I thought I could continue that, but now that I’ve started to work hard, my game is back and I’m hitting it as good as I ever had and I’ve only had two three-putts (this year). I knew if I worked hard, the nerves of having not competed since May would be less.
It all comes down to how bad you want it.
What was the injury that caused you to sit on the sidelines for as long as you did?
I have arthritis and I have a cyst. There’s still a pretty significant … it looks like a horn on my right wrist, if I flex it. Just favoring the thumb a little bit. If I eat the wrong foods, it gets inflamed. You’ll get inflammation if you’re not exercising. All I was doing was hitting balls, so that was putting a ton of pressure on my hands. I wasn’t doing the off-course things to keep an injury like that at bay. It was so painful towards the end and I went and got it checked in Atlanta. I didn’t have a lot of padding in (my wrist) anymore, it was almost bone-on-bone – the cartilage had been reduced drastically. Once I got a cortisone shot and started doing rehab on it and working on my body, the inflammation went down, and luckily I didn’t have to have any procedures.
I took a good bit of time off, but in September I resumed getting after it.
Your mom is the longtime women’s golf coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham; how much impact has she had on your life?
She’s since had a career change; she now works in administration at UAB, so now she doesn’t have to travel as much. But she was the women’s coach for 17 years from 2001 to 2018. She started the year Graeme McDowell left, in 2001. She had a good run but before that she managed a golf club and ran junior tournaments in Alabama and the southeast. First I was playing in all the tournaments and then I was running them with her. She’s always kept an eye on (my swing) and she’s the reason I play.
What is your relationship like now?
She’s the reason I play golf. I think about my hometown and both the courses I grew up playing are now closed. It’s very scarce for the county I lived in – there’s no way to cultivate a talent from there anymore. I’m just so fortunate that my mom ran the only 18-hole course in the county and that was from age 6 to 17, so all I did was ride with her to work every day. Literally, that’s all I did. Summertime she was out the door at 6:45 and I was in the car. I got free golf in a place that no longer has golf. Had I been born 10 years later, from where I grew up, I would have never had a chance to do anything in golf. She’s the reason for everything.
When did you know, after growing up playing so much golf, that golf was a career path you could go down?
When I got a full ride, a (Division I scholarship). I know that’s not the be-all, end-all but I was really small and I was competing against kids like Patton Kizzire. He was 6-4, 200 pounds when we were 18 and I was probably 5-8, 105 pounds. I was the smallest kid on the golf team by a mile. I won nine times in two years (at UAB; Kizzire played at Auburn) and then I won the Alabama Amateur. A great friend of mine, Tim Jackson, approached me about backing me. I won the Alabama Amateur in 2008 and Tim came to me that summer and said (he’d back me) after my senior year, at 22; I knew I was at least able to play for four years and give it my best run. That’s a huge opportunity. That guy took me to golf tournaments as a kid – I’ve known him my whole life.
Why and how did you decide on St. Croix? Can you describe the relationship between person and place?
I played the U.S. Youth Games there in 2000 and I got seven days to go down to St. Croix, of all places. It was a basketball showcase, but they have a golf team. It’s very poorly run, the golf tournament side (laughs) but the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce said they were going to make a golf team that year and bring the best junior in the area. I was 15 at the time. I really liked it. The course is a Robert Trent Jones design. In 2005 my best friend, who caddied for me last week – it’s his dad who has been my lifelong banker – and he moved to St. Croix after he graduated from Alabama. He lived there for six years and I turned pro shortly after. I needed to get out, get away, and just focus on golf and I had a free place to stay (in St. Croix). The golf course was free. This offseason, they hardly made me pay for a Gatorade. I probably played 100 rounds there this offseason. They love me there – my golf bag is in the pro shop. There are only 90 members so everyone knows me and it’s cool; there’s a sense of pride when I come down there.
You just got engaged. How did you guys meet and what’s the story of the engagement?
I met her last November. I played golf with Shelby (Wilcox’s fiancée), Vince Covello, and Spencer Brown – a friend of his. There was a connection through the Peach Belt Conference. It was kind of a blind date, but via a round of golf. That was the foursome. A kid named Jack Clark had played golf at Clayton State while (Shelby) played golf at Columbus State and they became friends through just playing golf in the same conference and living only 80 miles apart. Jack walked THE PLAYERS Championship in 2016 with me, he was inside the ropes, and he came back and was talking to her and was talking me up. He was saying I was a nice guy! When a past relationship didn’t work, I hit up Jack and asked, ‘Where is Shelby at?’ (laughs). We decided to play a round of golf. She’s got a master’s (degree) and is a really good golfer in her own right. We have a lot of things in common and I proposed December 23 and she’s pretty excited. It wasn’t an elaborate proposal; I’m not too much of a romantic.
But she said yes, and that’s all that matters.
Oh yeah, we’re on the same page.
Describe what a perfect day looks like for you?
I’d be in St. Croix. Wake up early, because the sunrises are ridiculous. Go out to the golf course and play, then hit all the spots on the island – which is kind of what we do. I don’t do it every day, but a day we’d do that and see friends and hang out and (go to) restaurants. You have to throw some beach in there. Golf course, straight to the beach to chill out and have a beer or two, then we’d do the restaurant circuit.
the most compelling story of the golf weekend was actually playing out in a Latinoamérica event in Buenos Aires.
You might not be aware, but the winner of Visa Open de Argentina gets an annual exemption into The Open Championship.
Having just watched Ricardo Celia drain a 30-footer for birdie in their two-man playoff, Brandon Matthews had an 8-foot putt to force a fourth extra hole and keep an invite to Royal St. George’s in play.
“I got over the putt, took the putter back and heard kind of a yelp or a scream,” Matthews told GolfChannel.com Monday, fresh off a nine-hour return trip to Tequesta, Florida.
“I kind of flinched on the putt and immediately knew I missed it.”
Matthews, who turned pro in 2016 after a college career at Temple, who won on the Latin America circuit in 2017, and who played the last two seasons on the Korn Ferry Tour, spent this fall remaking his golf swing after a “a really rough” summer. Back issues led to mental struggles and three months of disappointment. From the Kansas City Classic in May to the regular-season-ending Ellie Mae Classic in August, Matthews either withdrew or missed the cut in 11 consecutive KFT events. Just a few weeks into work with a new swing coach, he failed to advance out of the first stage of Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School.
Swing changes finally paid off last week in the form of a tie for fifth at the Nequen Argentina Classic. And now here he was, in a head-to-head, sudden-death playoff for the right to make his first start in a major championship – until someone yelled in his backswing.
“I thought someone had done it intentionally. I was frustrated. Really, I was in shock that that just happened,” said Matthews, who immediately turned around and gestured to the gallery.
While Celia was doused with water on the green, an upset Matthews headed to the locker room, where he was approached by Claudio Rivas, PGA Tour Latinoamérica’s tournament administration manager.
“‘Listen, we are so sorry,'” Rivas said, per Matthews. “‘It’s a terrible situation, but here’s the deal.'”
Rivas then told Matthews that it was a fan with Down Syndrome who had made the noise in his backstroke. He had gotten excited and lost control of his emotions.
And as soon as Rivas gave him those details, Matthews answered: “Take me to him.”
“His switch – his face changed. He almost broke into tears,” Rivas told GolfChannel.com after he landed back in Florida on Monday afternoon.
As Matthews grew up, his mother Donna worked to manage group homes and his best friend had a sister who also had Down Syndrome.
“I was around mental disability growing up, and I have a soft spot in my heart for it. Those are really special people,” he said. “I felt so terrible that I was even upset. I just wanted to make sure that he didn’t feel bad.”
With Rivas helping to translate, Matthews met with the fan, gave him a hug and signed a glove.
“I gave him a hug and I asked him, ‘Hey, are you doing OK? Are you having fun?’ I just wanted to make sure he was enjoying himself, that he had no hard feelings, that he didn’t feel bad about what happened,” Matthews said. “I didn’t want to anyone to be mad at him. I didn’t want him to be mad at himself. I wanted to make sure he knew that I wasn’t mad. That’s all I wanted to do.”
“He was very happy,” Rivas added, referring to the fan. “His name is Juan. [Matthews said], ‘I am sorry. I hope you enjoyed the golf. This is for you. Thank you.’ That’s basically what he told him.”
For now, Matthews isn’t headed to Royal St. George’s, but he will have a tour card next year. He managed to lock up full Latinoamérica status for 2020 on the strength of his T-5 and runner-up finishes in Argentina.
But, for Matthews, what happened Sunday superseded winning or losing or any other career concerns.
“Some things are bigger than golf,” he said, “and this was one of them.”
OnCore Golf Technology has signed world-renowned instructor and golf media personality Travis Fulton as its newest global brand ambassador to a multi-year agreement to promote OnCore Golf and its innovative products and technologies.
Over the past decade, Fulton has emerged as a leading teacher and instructional voice in the industry. After several successful years with Golf Channel where he was a key instructional host for programs such as “On the Range” and “Morning Drive,” Fulton has focused recent efforts on developing his own media platform and content via the @travisfultongolf Instagram account. He is also a regular contributor to Golf Digest and PGA TOUR Entertainment. Fulton operates signature golf academies in Jacksonville, Florida and Evansville, Indiana in addition to his online training programs. Prior to launching his own academies, he served as Director of Instruction at famed TPC Sawgrass.
OnCore entered the industry 7 years ago and has achieved a reputation of developing and launching best-in-class golf balls with real innovation and new technologies behind them. They have, in Senior Technical Advisor John Calabria, one of the industry’s most accomplished golf ball design engineers who has created award winning golf balls culminating in OnCore’s ELIXR tour ball. In addition to the Golf Digest Hot List award-winning ELIXR and AVANT55 balls, OnCore continues to lead with technology – announcing in recent weeks the iPuttTM ball – an incredible advancement in the merger of embedded electronic sensor technology and golf balls. And the company shows no sign of slowing down, recently filing additional patents for both conventional and “Internet of Things” golf balls, while also unveiling their plans for an amazing golf and sports entertainment complex in Buffalo, NY.
Co-founder Bret Blakely commented: “We are extremely excited about this partnership with Travis Fulton. Not only is he a voice that people trust because of his vast experience and expertise but his presence and ability to connect with his audience is something that we know OnCore will benefit greatly from.”
“I tested the OnCore golf ball earlier this year and was so impressed with their unique technology,” says Fulton. “We often hear about the benefits of perimeter weighting in golf clubs and OnCore has brought that to the golf ball. From our discussions to date, I know they have some really exciting developments in the works that I look forward to being a part of and helping to promote.”
ABOUT ONCORE GOLF TECHNOLOGIES:
OnCore is dedicated to delivering breakthrough technology and innovation, while inspiring golfers at all skill levels and abilities. The company entered the golf ball industry through development of the first-ever commercially available USGA-conforming hollow metal core ball and has since developed a growing suite of differentiated products distributed worldwide that now includes the five-star-rated low-compression AVANT and the top-performing ELIXR tour ball. The company has relationships with legendary golfers including Allen Geiberger and Gary Player and is backed by several significant investors including Rand Capital (NASDAQ: RAND), Charles Schwab, Angel Capital Group, and NYS Innovation Incubation Fund, among others.
Instagram – @oncoregolf
Twitter – @oncoregolf
Lamkin Corporation – leading manufacturer of premium golf grips – signs renowned instructor and golf media personality Travis Fulton as its newest brand ambassador to help promote the company’s products around the world.
Over the past decade, Fulton has emerged as a leading teacher and instructional voice in the industry. After several successful years with Golf Channel where he was a key instructional host for programs such as “On The Range” and “Morning Drive,” Fulton has focused recent efforts on developing his own media platform and content via the @travisfultongolf Instagram account. He is also a regular contributor to Golf Digest and PGA TOUR Entertainment. Fulton operates signature golf academies in Jacksonville, Florida and Evansville, Indiana in addition to his online training programs. Prior to launching his own academies, he served as Director of Instruction at famed TPC Sawgrass.
“Travis is among the most accomplished and credible instructors in the world, having a built a large and loyal following of students and avid golfers who rely on his advice to help them play their best,” says Bob Lamkin, CEO of Lamkin Grips. “As we look to our 2020 plan and beyond Travis’ wealth of knowledge and understanding of the golf swing will play an integral role as we further develop swinging and putting grips to meet the discerning needs of all golfers. He will be a key asset for Lamkin as we roll out new initiatives and content for both trade and consumer audiences.”
As part of the multi-year agreement, Fulton will appear in the company’s marketing campaigns, on social media channels and in PGA Continuing Education materials using Lamkin grips on his personal clubs during all instructional and content engagements. He will also develop educational and entertaining brand content to be shared via his personal social media channels.
“I have played Lamkin almost all my life as it is one of the most respected brands in the industry,” says Fulton. “For nearly 100 years they’ve been on the leading-edge of innovation in the golf grip category and what I see on the horizon in their strategic direction is nothing short of incredible.”
“The average golfer clearly overlooks the importance of finding the right grip, maintaining their grips and regripping with correct regularity and my goal with Lamkin is to educate consumers and teachers not only on the vital importance grips play in overall performance, but also how differing grips are best suited to player types and playing conditions,” adds Fulton.
Fulton joins PGA TOUR superstar Justin Rose as a brand ambassador. Rose is among a large and growing number of top players around the globe who rely on Lamkin grips to win in competition. Lamkin has established its excellent reputation for unrivaled quality thanks to world-class engineering, premium materials and handcrafted, repeatable production techniques. Among the popular lines offered by the company are SONAR, Crossline, SINKFit Putter Grips, UTx and many more.
For more details on Lamkin’s range of innovative golf grips and to keep up with the latest news from the company, please see visit the links below.
More information: www.Lamkingrips.com
Get social: @LamkinGrips
ABOUT LAMKIN GRIPS
Lamkin Grips’ golf heritage dates back to 1925 when founder Elver B. Lamkin began manufacturing golf’s first leather grips. Today, the family-owned business delivers the industry’s widest assortment of performance-enhancing golf grips that continue to earn loyal customers worldwide. Through their ongoing dedication to unequaled product quality and service support, Lamkin Grips is passionately committed to connecting golfers to a more confident, consistent and enjoyable game.
Matt Adams sat down with Gary Williams on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive to discuss his new book “The Golf Round I’ll Never Forget”
Justin Lower joined the No Laying Up crew to share his personal journey as well as his path as a professional golfer.
Justin lost his brother and father in a fatal car accident when he was 15 years old. The tragedy is something he carries with himself each day as he honors their memory and works to achieve his dream of playing on the PGA Tour.
Justin Lower is used to it by now. People just can’t pronounce his last name correctly.
It rhymes with ‘Power.’
And since he’s inside The 25 at the halfway point of the Web.com Tour’s 2019 season, he’s hoping that a trip to the PGA TOUR will make sure no one mispronounces his name again.
Lower has four top-25 finishes this year, including a runner-up result at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by MISTRAS, which was his best-ever Web.com Tour finish.
The former baseball player still loves the game – he threw out the first pitch at a Cleveland Indians game last year – along with all the sports teams from Cleveland. He’s also got some great stories of watching the WGC-Bridgestone every year at Firestone as a youngster. And, he’s moved back to Ohio recently as he prepares to marry a girl he’s known since high school, Janise, this September.
But Lower has also experienced terrible loss, with his father and younger brother dying in a car accident nearly 15 years ago.
The 30-year-old spent a few minutes with PGA TOUR Digital chatting about all the highs, and one tough low, in his life to this point.
- FeaturesLifelong Cleveland sports fan Justin Lower throw Indians first pitch
How would you assess your 2019 season?
I want to be more consistent. I feel like I play well on the weekends, so I feel like if I can get into a winning mindset beforehand, I don’t have to worry about getting into the weekend and playing well. I told my fiancée, I hate missing cuts. I have FOMO about it (laughs). I want to play on weekends. I just want to play every weekend because I feel like it’s more fun on the weekends. The crowds get more into it. It’s just more fun for me. It has been an inconsistent year, but it has had some bright spots like the second-place finish in Louisiana, but I’d really like to be more consistent.
To be more consistent, is it something you need to work on golf swing-wise, or mentally?
It’s the mental approach/attitude for sure. (In Knoxville) I didn’t have the best attitude and that hurt, for sure. I liked (Fox Den Country Club) and I feel like I could have done really well. I’ve had success there before. I was pretty disappointed with myself. I’m just trying to have a good mental attitude about everything – especially a positive attitude. I’m just trying to build on that for sure.
When did you realize, growing up, that you wanted to make a living out of playing golf?
In high school, you always dream about it, same with college. I didn’t think I could do it until my junior year of college. That’s when I started playing really well and shooting low scores … not really consistently but it would pop up more often, which was nice. You get that confidence. I had a really good year my junior year of college and that gave me the confidence to know I could do it.
Growing up in the northern U.S., what did you do in the winters?
In college I would hang (my clubs) up a bit. We had indoor facilities we’d go to in college, and I still go to some of the same ones. I just recently moved back to Ohio last July, so I spent all this past winter mainly up there. I came down to Florida about a week before the Bahamas, mainly just to get some reps in on grass (laughs). I was able to play quite a bit (in Ohio) but it’s not the same. It’s nice to actually play and see the ball actually fly and not hit a net 70 yards in front of me. In college I’d hang them up and play basketball or just do indoor stuff and hit the gym. Now that it’s my livelihood, I’m a little more serious at it and don’t put (the clubs) away for too long, maybe a day or two. I’ve got a good system of places up north I can go to. Luckily enough the basement in our new house is big enough (where) I can swing. I’ve put a net in there and kind of made a makeshift putting green. It’s maintenance stuff; I’m not really grinding down there.
Why did you decide to move back to Ohio?
I’m getting married in September and it’s just hard on my fiancée. We’re gone for long periods of time so it was just easier to be close to family for the both of us, not just her. It’s a nice change. We were in Charlotte, North Carolina before that which was nice; the weather was good and we loved it, but we just wanted to be closer to family.
- FeaturesJustin Lower and NASCAR driver Justin Allgaier swap driving lessons
How did you guys meet?
We actually went to high school together but there was no romantic interest. Not even a friendship interest, really. She claims I didn’t talk in high school, but she was the one who wouldn’t even talk to me back then (laughs). We grew up in the same small town and we kept in touch. We got talking again at the end of 2013 and started officially dating in the beginning of 2014.
Speaking of Ohio, how excited are you for all the moves the Cleveland Browns made this offseason?
Oh my gosh. It’s exciting for sure. It’s kind of like the Cavaliers were the past couple years before LeBron left again. With northeast Ohio in general being a football town, it could be really exciting if they start to play well. It’s a lot of talent on paper and I’m a little worried about that. Hopefully it’ll translate over, especially with a first-year head coach; that kind of worries me as well, but I think we’ve got the right tools for sure. We just need to get everyone to gel together. And the schedule is somewhat brutal. I would be happy with 10-6, I think it would secure a wildcard spot and maybe get the division. I think Pittsburgh will hold their own; they always have our number. I don’t think Cincinnati is anything to worry about. Baltimore is on the downfall – but what do I know? (laughs).
Did you play other sports growing up?
I played baseball growing up. I thought I was pretty good at it. I batted leadoff and played second base and I would play outfield from time-to-time. I loved playing baseball … It was all I wanted to do up until I was 12 or 13. I just loved playing Little League and I played on travel teams and I had a lot of fun doing it. But I would always get into hitting slumps when golf season would start back up, and that’s not really what you want your leadoff hitter to be (laughs).
Were you so good at baseball that you had to formally choose between the two sports?
I had to choose and it was a tough decision, but I chose golf. I liked the individual aspect of golf more. It’s all on you. And the competitiveness of it … I like to compete, at anything really. That’s what I liked about it for sure.
Making Northeast Ohio proud.
Justin Lower (@JustinLower_1) came through in the clutch to secure a spot in the top 45 at Final Stage … and guaranteed #WebTour starts in 2018.4711:08 PM – Dec 10, 201715 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy
One of your earliest memories of professional golf is watching Tiger Woods at Firestone Country Club, where they hosted the WGC-Bridgestone for many years. What do you remember most?
I just remember going there every year with my dad; we’d go once, maybe twice in a week when it came to town, and then I started volunteering for the tournament so I would get more access that way. I think I volunteered for the Bridgestone one year and then for the Senior PGA Championship in 2002 when it came to town. With Tiger, I remember the shot in the dark – I was there earlier in the day, but I left when the rain delay happened. I remember being there Friday when he shot 61, and Saturday he started birdie-eagle-birdie but then he parred out. It was just craziness. He was lapping the field. He played with Jose Maria Olazabal who had the course record, but Tiger tied it. Jose Maria was in contention but then Tiger, in typical Tiger fashion, he grew the lead and never relinquished it. He played with Hal Sutton the last day in 2000, and I remember going to a clinic he put on the Monday morning before he left and they had it at the public nine of Firestone. He was hitting on the back of the green down the fairway. The way that green is, it’s kind of a stadium setting so everyone was sitting on grass. It was pretty cool; it was him and Butch Harmon. That’s what I remember about it for sure.
Since you just turned 30, I assume Tiger is the main professional golfer who inspired you growing up?
Oh yeah, for sure. You ask anyone out here and Tiger is the answer. It’s crazy because even some guys who don’t like him, you still see his mannerisms. When you hit a bad shot, he made it cool to finish one-handed. Walking in putts. Fist pumps. Even if you don’t like him, the mannerisms bleed into what you’re doing because he made it look so good and effortless. He is the needle of golf, and 99 percent of the time it’s for good reasons.
Tell me the story about throwing out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians game?
It was the week of the DAP Championship, and it was on Tuesday. I’ve never been on field level at a major league setting. I think I played it wrong (laughs). I like to be on time, but I got there way too early. They kind of iced me. I was nowhere near ready to throw out a first pitch. No warm-up, no nothing. There were four pitchers in front of me, and two were under the age of eight and they both got it over the plate. I had to put some air under (my pitch), I thought, because if I didn’t make it over the plate I was going to look like a moron. I didn’t throw it near as hard as I wanted to. I didn’t lob it, but I didn’t wing it in there. It may have been a strike, it may have been a ball – might have been a borderline call.
How well do you know your Latin America countries?
Christian Brand (@SeeBrand) and Justin Lower (@JustinLower_1) put their knowledge to the test.2511:26 AM – Feb 1, 2018See Web.com Tour’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy
If you do it again, you know what time to show up at now, at least?
Yes, absolutely! I went for batting practice beforehand, to watch. Then we had to leave, and I had to go back and check-in again to throw out the first pitch. We went down this long tunnel and they gave me the ball and were very adamant I hold on to it. Then they’re like, ‘You can go on the field now,’ but I felt like I was out there for half-an-hour. I had friends calling me from different parts of the stadium: “Look in right field!” and I saw five people standing there waving at me. It was kind of crazy.
I wanted to look around and take it all in, but I know they were pressed for time since I was the fifth pitch … just get it over with. I kind of did a little peek around, like, “Wow, this is pretty cool,” but I knew they were pressed for time.
With almost 15 years having gone by since you lost your father and brother to an accident, do you still feel the pain of that loss every day?
I would say it comes every other day. There are weeks that are worse than others, days that are worse than others. Like Father’s Day, it’s not easy. My brother’s birthday. My dad’s birthday. Easter. The holidays and their specific days aren’t easy, just because it’s family and those days are meant to be spent with family. It’s tough, but I have a great support system.
I think about them all the time, especially my brother. He was only 10 and he was five years younger than me, so it would have been really nice to have that relationship with him now. Now he’d be 24 going on 25 and … would he be caddying for me? Would he be traveling with me some weeks? Who knows where he’d be now? I’ll be honest, I see other guys have their dads out here … and it’s not jealously or envy, but just that I wish I would have one week with him out here. It’d be cool. Then I hear of stories around the world and the country where someone says, ‘Yeah I haven’t spoken to my dad in like 10 years.’ You know what I would give to speak with my dad just one time? It’s a different perspective on life for sure.
How has that support system been?
They’ve been great, especially my mom. It was a huge growing process for my mom and I. It was always my dad and myself and my mom and my brother. Once the accident happened, we weren’t like, re-introduced to each other but we were like, ‘Wow – nice to see you again.’ I grew really close with my mom once it happened. People around where I grew up, like the owner at my home golf course … he became a pretty close friend of mine. Just friends that I’ve had since that day, they’ve been nothing but supportive.
CBS and PGA Tour Entertainment teamed up to profile PGA Tour rookie Hank Lebioda and his journey not only to the PGA Tour but also his fight with Crohn’s Disease and how he manages the condition as he competes with the best in the world on a weekly basis.
Ranger Ready Repellents, a new mosquito, tick and fly repellent has engaged, Matt Adams, the founder and host of Fairways of Life. A renown golf commentator, Mr. Adams is widely recognized as an expert on golf and how golfers from beginners to the pros get more out of the game. Ranger Ready Repellents is working together with Mr. Adams to help build awareness among golfers around the threat of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.
“This year, the CDC anticipates about 7,000 new cases of Lyme disease will be diagnosed in the U.S. each week during tick season (May through August),” said Chris L. Fuentes, founder and CEO of Ranger Ready Repellents. “The peak months for tick bites are May thru August when over 300 million rounds of golf are played across the United States every year. “Ranger Ready is creating a public service announcement series to provide important safety tips for golfers to play every round protected from tick and insect bites,” noted Fuentes. “We could not be more pleased than to have trusted golf insider, Matt Adams help share this important message that could save your life,” said Fuentes.
“It’s not often that you get to work with products you actually get emotionally engaged in,” said Matt Adams the day after filming the public services series How to Play Every Round Protected. “Our goal is to help golfers around the country avoid being an unfortunate statistic and start being protected from tick and mosquito borne diseases,” said Adams. SHOP NOW
To kick off the campaign, Ranger Ready engaged with Golf Channel and PGATour.com to promote the partnership with Matt. The activation led to record setting daily sales numbers in the first week!
Web.com Tour player Justin Hueber joined the crew at No Laying Up for Episode 2 of Wild World of Golf. Hueber pairs with Big Randy for a 9 hole alternate match agains Soly and Tron Carter.
Matt Adams and his colleagues on Morning Drive discussed the difficult conditions lined up for the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
CDC Recommended Insect Repellent Inks Agreement with Matt Adams, Award Winning Golf Broadcaster and NY Times Best Selling Author
Orlando, FL – March 12, 2019 – Ranger Ready Repellents, a new mosquito, tick and fly repellent has engaged, Matt Adams, the founder and host of Fairways of Life. A renown golf commentator, Mr. Adams is widely recognized as an expert on golf and how golfers from beginners to the pros get more out of the game. Ranger Ready Repellents is working together with Mr. Adams to help build awareness among golfers around the threat of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.
“This year, experts anticipate about 7,000 new cases of Lyme disease will be diagnosed in the U.S. each week”, said Chris L. Fuentes, founder and CEO of Ranger Ready Repellents. “The peak months for tick bites are May thru August when over 300 million rounds of golf are played across the United States every year,” “Ranger Ready is creating a public service announcement series to provide important safety tips for golfers to play every round protected from tick and insect bites” noted Fuentes. “We could not be more pleased than to have trusted golf insider, Matt Adams help share this important message that could save your life.” said Fuentes.
“It’s not often that you get to work with products you actually get emotionally engaged in” said Matt Adams the day after filming the public services series How to Play Every Round Protected. “Our goal is to help golfers around the country avoid being an unfortunate statistic and start being protected from tick and mosquito borne diseases,” said Adams.
Ranger Ready utilizes the active ingredient Picaridin 20%, which is recommended by the CDC as a safe, effective long-lasting repellent. “Picaridin has been safely used in Europe for over 25 years as an effective and safe alternative to DEET”, said Fuentes. “Picaridin is safe for adults and children over one year old. We wanted to create a bug spray people would want to wear and was effective for the pros who have to wear protection everyday,” noted Fuentes.
# # #
Ranger Ready Repellents®is a brand of the PiC20 Group, LLC, a privately held company based in Norwalk, CT that exclusively utilizes the active ingredient Picaridin to invent, manufacture and distribute DEET-free insect repellents. Under the brand name Ranger Ready Repellents, the company offers premium American-made repellents to safely protect adults and children from tick and insect bites that may cause serious disease. www.rangerready.com
Fairways of Life: The Fairways of Life Show, the most listened to golf in the
world, is an entertaining and fun platform for inside information,
unforgettable interviews with the game’s
legends and stars, as well as lively interactive discussions about the game,
travel and the latest in golf equipment. Matt Adams’
passion for the game and for life creates a show that’s unlike any other and
will keep you informed, entertained and engaged. It can be heard
live Monday – Friday at 8:00 a.m. EST on the Fairways of Life Apps (available
in both iOS and Android) and www.FairwaysofLife.com.
Lauren Thompson served as emcee and host for the Ambassador Dinner hosted by Mastercard at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week.
Guests of Mastercard and industry VIPs enjoyed a private cocktail party and dinner at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge. During the evening, Lauren hosted panel discussions with Mastercard PGA Tour ambassadors including Tom Watson, Curtis Strange, Mark O’Meara, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Arinban Lahiri, Brandt Snedeker, Sam Burns and Beau Hossler.
The PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational presented by Mastercard will take place March 7th thru the 10th in Orlando, Florida.
No Laying Up and Fidelity Sports have collaborated to assemble the “Young Hitters” Program on the Web.com Tour. The team of five rising FSG clients on the Web.com Tour will represent NLU for the season and work with the brand to help tell their story, develop unique content and track their progress towards the PGA Tour in 2020.
Fort Worth, Texas – January 21, 2019 – As one of the game’s most iconic brands, Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company (BHG) is enjoying a strong resurgence backed by a unique factory-direct business model that provides
tour-quality, high-performance golf clubs at a fraction of competitive brand pricing. Today, with an ever-growing following among serious golfers, and on the heels of multi-million dollar sales growth in 2018, the Company has
announced the signing of nationally recognized golf instructor, Travis Fulton, as a brand ambassador.
“Travis Fulton is an accomplished golf instructor with a devoted following among golfers who closely align with the products offered by Ben Hogan Golf,” said Scott White, CEO, Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company. “Travis brings our brand a wealth of knowledge and a unique understanding of the game. We are fortunate to have him as a strategic advisor and somebody that will help us keep our finger on the pulse of serious players. We think he has the credibility and charisma to be a great addition to our team of brand ambassadors.” White adds, “At a time when the retail golf equipment market has driven prices to unprecedented levels, brand ambassadors like Travis will help promote the Ben Hogan Golf’s direct-to-consumer business model. He can help us explain how we are able to offer tour-quality golf clubs to golfers at hundreds of dollars less than they would pay for
competitive brand products in the mark-up driven retail sector. We want serious golfers to know that we are not beholden to retail sales cycles and shelf re-sets, and we bring products to market only when they are worthy of the l
Matt Adams asks Golf Channel insiders Tim Rosaforte and Jaime Diaz who they would take in 2019, Brooks Koepka or Dustin Johnson.
From an audience of 33 million listeners on SiriusXM, the award-winning broadcaster and New York Timesbest-selling author is entering a realm where the reach of multiple platforms for golf’s largest independent digital talk radio show has the potential to extend to over two-and-a-half billion consumers worldwide.
Daunting in prospect but this is where Adams’ business and distribution sights have been set for quite some time now. When Dominic Scarano, Fairways of Life producer, flips the ‘On Air’ switch Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. EST the culmination of months of work and preparation without any sort of blueprint to go from will be realized.
“The scale of what we’re doing has taken a very long time to build,” Adams said in a phone interview Tuesday morning shortly after announcing his intentions for Fairways of Life. “It’s like any other business venture where you go into it with the best of intent but once you get mired in the details of what it’s going to be or what you hope it will be you realize how complicated it is. To get this done has been quite a process.”
Receiving the necessary platform approvals to get this business plan across the finish line should be considered a coup. While FairwaysofLife.com and theFairways of LifeApp will serve as internal distribution drivers, the Monday-Friday show will also have global accessibility through iHeart Radio, TuneIn Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, Twitter, Facebook, Spreaker and Amazon Alexa. Google Play alone represents 1 billion potential consumers.
“Once we were ready to try and get the approvals from these massive global platforms, and frankly we didn’t know if we could or not, but once it started to happen it was one, after another, after another, until we had all of them we were targeting,” Adams explained.
Support from longtime advertisers and marketing partners was pretty much across the board. Being able to garner ad programs already in line with what Adams was charging, but with the prospects for another 2 billion plus potential consumers, seems like the proverbial no-brainer for those companies, many of whom must have felt like Christmas had come early with Adams posing as Santa Claus.
As it relates to worldwide expansion, if FoL maintains the level of success it has enjoyed since Adams founded the show in 2007 the global numbers and return on investment for business partners could be huge.
“All of them (advertisers-marketing partners) kind of chuckled and said, sure, let’s give it a try,” he said. “I think they viewed it as no risk because what they were spending wasn’t enough to cause them great concern and from my standpoint I just needed enough of them to make sure I had everything funded. My objective was to ensure the funding would stretch out for at least a year to give us the time we needed to get our sea legs.”
Since Adams owns the FoL brand and its complete library of content he will have a great deal of flexibility in negotiating deals with current and future advertisers. One thing Adams made clear: he does not diminish what that support has meant as he boldly takes FoL to another level of global profile.
“The bottom line is any new business that comes into existence has to make sure it has the underpinning of financing in order to afford to do what it’s doing and wants to do,” he said. “That was a conscious part of building this.”
With all of that said there still remains an element of risk Adams assumes in taking FoL global. With the show’s target demographic generally being older there was concern that the various distribution platforms could be considered complicated for individuals who might not understand how, or even where, to access apps through the digital tier.
Adams believes that risk still exists to some degree.
“We’re absolutely making a massive assumption that the golf demographic is ready for new systems of distribution,” he said. “If you go to younger generations, my kids’ ages and a bit older, they’re already consuming their audio, whether its music or podcasts or news shows, through these various digital means. We didn’t know if the golf demographic was ready for it.”
Evidence, at least initially, seems to indicate it is. Adams has heard from all the commissioners or chief executives of golf’s major governing bodies, each one expressing excitement and enthusiasm for taking a daily golf talk show and moving it to a global platform. Though early in the process, golfers worldwide are jumping on the bus.
“We’re getting engagement from tens of thousands of people since the news broke a little while ago,” he said. “That engagement comes from signing up on the website, downloading apps and what’s really interesting, which has been our hope from the start, the contact we’re getting is coming from all over the globe. The fact we knowingly structured it as a free entertainment service was very important to us.”
What has Adams excited professionally is the freedom he will have withFairways of Lifeprogramming each day. Without the limitations of dictated commercial and news breaks and a specific broadcast window he’s excited about the possibilities for listeners.
“If an interview is going great and we feel like staying on we are in an endless space, this absolute ether of room, and we’ll just keep going if we feel like it. There are no limits.”
Having become a fixture onGolf Channelalong with the broadcast work he does for the European Tour it’s a fair question to ask why Adams even needs his FoL show at this point of his career. Knowing him for the best part of 25 years I wasn’t surprised by his response.
“It’s what I’ve always done. FoL blends so well with what I do withGolf Channeland I think this is going to free me up to do more, especially Morning Drive, because of the time we’re on and the flexibility we’ll have in doing the program,” he said. “But you know I love the intimacy of radio. I love the friendship of it and I love the conversation that it is. Golf on a global basis is the eighth largest sport in the world. On a global basis it’s bigger than the NFL. I have no doubt that by having FoL available globally, and for free, we’re going to tap into the hearts and minds of people who share our common passion.”
Award winning broadcaster takes show worldwide beginning November 7 at 8:00 a.m. EST.
Orlando, FL— After over a decade on SiriusXM Radio, Matt Adams, the award-winning broadcaster, writer, New York Times best-selling author and Golf Channel commentator, is taking his nationally acclaimed golf radio show, Fairways of Life global.
Adams and Fairways of Life announced today that the largest independent digital show in golf talk radio history will be available for free across the U.S. and worldwide beginning this week on November 7, at 8amEST.
Adams, who has been the host of the program since its inception in 2007, remains as enthusiastic as ever.
“We are so excited to be able to provide in-depth golf radio content to all of the USA and around the world on air, online and on demand for free,” Adams said. “It makes it so simple now to find the Fairways of Life Show on whatever device consumers use to listen, whether it be live or on-demand, through every major digital audio platform.”
Fairways of Life with Matt Adams will be live Monday – Friday at 8:00 a.m. EST on FairwaysofLife.com and the Fairways of Life App (available in both iOS and Android). Click on the link below to download the App.
Android App: Fairways of Life Android
iOS App: Fairway of Life iOS
In addition, Fairways of Life with Matt Adams can be heard on iHeart Radio (90 million), TuneIn Radio (60 million) and on-demand worldwide 24/7 on every major audio digital platform reaching billions of consumers including; iTunes (800 million), Spotify (170 million), Stitcher, Google Play (1 billion), Twitter (330 million) and Facebook (1.86 billion) as well as, Spreaker and Amazon Alexa.
Fairways of Life’s unprecedented worldwide distribution will instantly cause the show to become the most widely distributed daily live golf talk show in the world.
About Fairways of Life with Matt Adams
The Fairways of Life Show, the most listened to golf in the world, is an entertaining and fun platform for inside information, unforgettable interviews with the game’s legends and stars, as well as lively interactive discussions about the game, travel and the latest in golf equipment. Matt Adams’ passion for the game and for life creates a show that’s unlike any other and will keep you informed, entertained and engaged.
To learn more about the Fairways of Life show with Matt Adams please visit https://www.fairwaysoflife.com/ and stay connected through our various social media:
Android App: Fairways of Life Android
iOS App: Fairway of Life iOS
Facebook: Fairways of Life
About Matt Adams
Matt Adams, a Golf Channel personality, multiple-time New York Times best-selling author, and host of Fairways of Life with Matt Adams, has become one of the golf industry’s top voices, broadcaster and expert in golf business, equipment, and history. For over 30-years, Adams has worked in golf club operations, golf equipment and golf media. He is an expert in golf equipment technology spending years in the OEM side of the game, having designed and/or built golf clubs for the biggest names in the industry, including Nicklaus, MacGregor, Ram and Wilson. Adams has been called “the best interviewer in golf” by golfing legends including Billy Casper and Gary Player.
Adams broadcasting talents have been featured on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, BBC, ESPN, Golf Channel, PGA Tour Entertainment, European Tour Productions and DirecTV, among others. He has hosted broadcasts from every Major Championship and multiple Ryder Cups.
Media personality Lauren Thompson, currently host for Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” and NBC’s “The Champion Within,” will serve as master of ceremonies for various events at the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego. The Golf Industry Show is presented by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The Golf Industry Show, which includes the GCSAA Golf Championships, the GCSAA Education Conference and the industry trade show, offers a dynamic, progressive week of unparalleled networking opportunities and hands-on access to golf course and facility management solutions for golf industry professionals. GCSAA will also host marquee events to recognize its annual award winners.
Thompson will host the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta, on Feb. 6, and the Closing Celebration, presented in partnership with John Deere, on Feb. 7. In addition, she will be on the trade show floor on Feb. 6 to honor winners of GCSAA’s Leo Feser Award and Edwin Budding Award.
“We are honored to have Lauren be a part of the Golf Industry Show,” Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO said. “Her knowledge of the game and the industry makes her the perfect host, and she has many fans among our attendees.”
A native of Orlando, Fla., and a graduate of the University of Central Florida, Thompson’s ten years on Golf Channel are part of a long career in television reporting, research and production. She is a self-confessed “golf nut.”
“It’s a game you can take up at any age, and enjoy for the rest of your life,” Thompson said. “The game grows with each new golfer, and I love promoting the game.”
More information about the Golf Industry Show is available at www.golfindustryshow.com.
About GCSAA and the EIFG
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org, or find us on Facebook or Twitter. Visit our industry-leading magazine at GCMonline.com.
The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at www.eifg.org, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
Matt Adams covers the game improvement technology featured in the brand new line of Tour Edge equipment
Following his fourth runner-up finish of the 2018 PGA Tour Champions season at the Sanford International, Tim Petrovic spent time with Golf Channel to provide tips to improve your bunker play.
“The Champion Within” features the powerful and inspiring stories of successful athletes who exemplify what it really means to be a champion. Hosted by Lauren Thompson of Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive,” “The Champion Within” introduces audiences to professional and amateur athletes who have overcome obstacles to ultimately achieve transcendent moments in the world of sports. “The Champion Within” proves that a champion is not only defined by their speed, strength and agility, but also by their grit, resilience and heart.
The award-winning program has been picked up for a Third Season on the NBC Network, as part of the “The More You Know” Saturday morning programming block.
Episodes can be viewed at https://www.nbc.com/the-champion-within
Matt Adams and Jaime Diaz discussed on Golf Channel’s Golf Central how they define whether or not Tiger Woods is “back” after his recent 2nd place finish at the PGA Championship and his 64 in the final round.
Lauren: You know, I’m a pretty open book. My life has taken its share of surprising twists and turns as far as a career path goes, but back in the day- high school or so- I was extremely studious and dead-set on being a Nurse. Early college days were spent in the library, sometimes 4 to 5 hours a night… then things changed a bit, my major included. I started socializing more (important in college!), joined a sorority (one that still placed heavy incentive on academics) and began modeling: the money was an easy motivator for a college kid. Then, I caught the “TV bug” with infomercials, car commercials, hosting roles and that was it: The adrenaline combined with the challenge had me hooked.
Adam: What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your development and success?
Lauren: Everyone faces setbacks… some more public than others. A few people have assumed that my career now vs. “the bikini days” are polar opposites, but I always found it quite empowering. It’s unfortunate that people try and use it as ammo against you, but I own it. True, after two kids it isn’t exactly my cup of tea anymore… but maybe it will give me some inspiration a few years down the road when gravity takes it’s toll. 😉
Adam: In your experience, what are the common qualities among those who have been able to enjoy success in media and broadcasting?
Lauren: Bob and weave, baby! You have to be able to roll with the punches. To take on new tasks. To be able to say “yes” and then put in some real work to hone your craft. That’s the definition of live TV in my mind. The show must go on, and to be confident in your abilities- and confident in your team- will save you over and over again. A positive attitude is what I believe has helped me the most… but that’s any job.
Adam: Who have been the biggest influences in your life and why?
Lauren: Hands-down, my mom. We lost my Dad to a brain tumor just 2 weeks before my 1st birthday. Although I don’t remember this time in my life for obvious reasons, I can’t forget the crazy strength she showed at every turn. She was a teacher. Tired. Over-worked and like most in her field, underpaid. She knew the proving grounds for women- then and now- and was never scared to show her teeth of need be. She demonstrated to me how much you have to work for things you want, and how nothing worthwhile will simply be handed to you. I pray my kids learn from me, as well.
Adam: What are the best lessons you have learned through your career that are applicable to those who will never earn a living in front of or behind the camera?
Lauren: Wow… I would say to never back down from a challenge. Life is far too short to play it safe. That’s boring. If your dreams are completely out of line with your daily life, you’re doing something wrong. And the best part is, you have the power to turn it around. So do it! And if you mess up.. guess what, no one’s perfect so take another stab at it. You’ll only find out what you’re capable of, and likely will surprise yourself.
Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?
Lauren: Don’t burn bridges. This happens left and right in the entertainment industry. People leaving other companies and opportunities for the bigger/ better piece of the pie, without realizing just how interconnected things are. Word gets around fast, both good and bad, and if you treat people with respect and are honest… you’ll rule the world.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Lauren: Honestly, I’ve become a world class napper because of Morning Drive! (laughs) .. No really, I can fall asleep on a dime. It’s a real skill. I think all parents have this in their tool kit… but as far as real “hobbies”… golf is an easy one. Not just because it’s what we live and breathe on Golf Channel, but because of what it offers to my family. Time outside, in the fresh air, where cell phone use is frowned upon, and real conversations can happen organically. That is my happy place.
Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?
Lauren: It’s pretty simple I think. It’s the easiest thing in the world really. Just treat others how you yourself would like to be treated. That’s it. No gray area. And smile at people. I used to be almost entertained by how random people respond when you smile at them. Now, I just see it as the best form of contagion.
Willy Wilcox is in his 10th year as a professional golfer. The Alabama resident is enjoying a successful season thus far on theTour, with two top-5 finishes that currently place him in one of the top 25 spots that earn a PGA Tour card for next season. The 31-year-old had status on the PGA Tour the past four seasons, with his best season coming in 2015—earning more than $1.1 million—and Wilcox’s career earnings are more than $3.2 million. He once shot 59 in a Tour event, but his most famous highlight was a hole-in-one on No. 17 at the 2016 Players Championship and his epic celebration. We caught up with Wilcox ahead of this week’s Players Championship.
How often are you reminded of your hole-in-one on No. 17 at the Players?
“Pretty regularly. It’s still surreal. And I definitely think it’s good I made that hole-in-one because nobody else was going to react like I did. A lot of guys, like Sergio’s reaction wasn’t great (laughs). I mean, they’re going to play it every year. But with me, it was just a flood of everything, so it was pretty sweet. And it really resonates with kids and people who would react the same way. Kids from all over the world have contacted me or come up to me and said, ‘If I made a hole-in-one, I would have reacted the same way.’ So that’s pretty cool.”
Is No. 17 really as uncomfortable and scary as everyone says it is?
“When you’re just playing with it buddies, it’s almost funny if you hit it into the water. But if you’re in tournament play, it’s not as funny. And I did hit it in the water the next round. That day the pin was up, the wind was pumping into out of the left so it was a 120 number and you’re hitting 8-iron, so that’s a lot different than flipping a pitching wedge. So that hole, when the wind is blowing is an absolute animal.”
How does your mind-set change playing on theTour vs. the PGA Tour?
“I look at it different from most players. If I’m paying my bills and playing golf, then I’m in good shape. So I’m more motivated now than I was on the PGA Tour last year just because I found my game again, I’m not losing a few balls every round. Last year was such a tough year. I was so unmotivated because I was playing so bad — I just couldn’t wait for it to be over. Because that’s a hard spot to be in because everybody’s so good and I just developed some bad habits, that six months into the season, there’s not much you can do, so you’re kind of screwed. So this year now that I’m playing well, I go into every week, it feels like the Masters.”
What did you learn from your buddy Ryan Armour recently winning his first PGA Tour title?
“He broke through at 43, which is awesome. Basically, it took him awhile to get a perfect set up. I just believe stronger in dialing in equipment after seeing what he did. It took him awhile, but now that he’s got it figured out, he’s got about 20 extra yards in the air. He’s hitting his 7-iron 180 where as before he was like a 166 7-iron. So the more technology, the more ability to tinker comes out, not necessarily with heads and shafts, but just learning how to dial in equipment with lofts, lies, grinds, weighting. Before I just grabbed a club and started playing, but now I’m looking around and seeing how dialed in everyone is so now I’m going to TrueSpec and I’m trying to stay on top of my equipment better. All these other guys have that advantage, so I might at least do it as well.”
You’re a huge Tiger Woods fan as evidenced by your Twitter feed. Have you had any brushes with him?
“Nothing good (laughs). Honestly, I had a little thing with him at Medalist a few years ago where I was taking a video of him on the range and he was pretty offended. So yeah, that didn’t work out pretty good. I think he might know who I am, and I don’t think he’s a big fan. So that’s kind of depressing, but I’ll continue to love him.”
After finishing sixth on his European Challenge Tour debut in the Belt and Road Colourful Yunnan Open earlier this month, Charlie Saxon is targeting another top-ten finish at this week’s Turkish Airlines Challenge.
The American will tee it up at Gloria Golf Club this week after receiving an invitation from Challenge Tour Director Alain De Soultrait and is aiming to build on his solid showing in China.
Born in Oklahoma in the United States, Saxon has previously plied his trade on various tours including PGA Tour Latinoamérica, the China Tour and the Web.com Tour, enjoying relative success.
The 24 year old already has two wins under his belt this season, both of which occurred on the China Tour.
A final round 66 clinched a one-shot victory at the Shenzhou Peninsula Classic as Saxon triumphed in his first tournament of the year.
Saxon then claimed another superb win at the China Tour’s second event of the year, the Bo Ao Open, by shooting four sublime rounds of 65-69-64-67 to extend his lead at the top of the tour’s Order of Merit.
Although he believes putting himself under too much pressure could have an adverse effect on his game, Saxon has his sights set on another high finish at this week’s Turkish Airlines Challenge.
“Obviously I would love to finish in the top ten in order to get into the Challenge de España,” the American said.
“That would be my goal for the week but I don’t think you can put too much pressure on yourself.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’ll come out here and play as well as I can but at the end of the day, putting extra pressure on yourself really isn’t going to help.”
Saxon has expressed his gratitude to the Challenge Tour for the invitation to play in Antalya this week and is feeling confident in his own game.
“I’m thankful to the sponsors and to Alain De Soultrait and it’s another opportunity to hopefully earn more money on this tour and potentially get through the re-rank,” he said.
“The course looks wonderful and the hotel we’re staying at is great. Everybody’s been really friendly so it should be a really good week.
“I’m confident in my game and I’m confident in my ability. At the end of the day, golf’s a game against the course and on this tour there’s certainly more players of a higher calibre than on some of the other tours I’m used to playing.
“Good golf’s good golf and I know if I’m playing good golf then I can compete and contend.
“I obviously recognise how difficult it is out here on the Challenge Tour. These are some of the best players in the world and I’m happy to be out here playing and I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
Many professional golfers are extremely superstitious.
For Brandon Matthews, a 2016 adult and organizational development alumnus [of Temple University] and current player on the Web.com Tour, superstition starts with the quarter he uses as a ball-marker.
“I will never use a quarter that is above the year 1969,” Matthews said. “If I have a 1974 quarter, to me that is like shooting 74.”
Matthews moved from 103rd on the Web.com Tour to 74th after he tied for 10th at the North Mississippi Classic last weekend. He hopes to finish the season within the top-25 money winners to earn his PGA Tour card.
Matthews’s girlfriend Danielle Maslany gave him a special quarter for Christmas this year.
“When we get change, we look at the date of all the quarters,” said Maslany, a 2013 journalism alumna who met Matthews through an interview she conducted for OwlSports Update. “I went online and found a 1959 quarter and bought it for him. I don’t think we will ever be lucky enough to find one in circulation, so I thought it would be cool to get him one to use.”
Maslany has seen several of Matthews’s most successful finishes. At Temple, Matthews won eight times as an individual. Just five months into his debut on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica, Matthews won at the Molino Cañuelas Championship in Argentina in March 2017.
He became the youngest American to win a PGA Tour Latinoamérica event.
“Winning so early took a lot of stress off of me,” Matthews said. “Throughout my career as an amateur, I always tried to be the best that I can be. Going out and winning was really nice but something that I expected as a competitor.”
Matthews ranked 10th on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica’s Order of Merit in October 2017, which allowed him to make it to the final stage of tour-qualifying school. His high finish at q-school qualified him for the first eight starts of the Web.com Tour.
Matthews only competed in five of those eight possible starts because of food poisoning and a back injury. He has had back problems since high school and regularly sees a chiropractor.
“It’s a learning process,” Maslany said. “He is identifying how to better care for his body, and we make changes to incorporate that into our life.”
Matthews said he stretches for an average of 30 to 45 minutes each morning while also watching what he eats and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“It is an annoying thing because I have to do things 55-year-olds have to do in the morning as far as stretching goes,” Matthews said. “I shouldn’t have to do this at 23 years old.”
Despite back issues, Matthews’s average drive this season goes 313.3 yards, which ranks fourth out of more than 150 players on the Web.com Tour. He also has a 4.16 birdie average, which is 14th-best on the tour.
Matthews said he relies heavily on his caddy, Jon “Sunshine” Lehman, for direction, especially when it comes to putting.
During the Pinnacle Bank Championship in Omaha, Nebraska, in July, Lehman was on the bag for Armando Favela, who had a rib injury. Matthews qualified for the tournament through a sponsors exemption, a spot offered to a player by the tournament’s title sponsor when the player has not already qualified for the event. Matthews asked Lehman to be his caddy, and they have been together ever since.
“Brandon calls me in on nine out of 10 putts,” Lehman said. “He wants that opinion, and I love that because it makes me feel more involved.”
“Brandon is really good at driving the golf ball and is a superior ball striker,” Lehman added. “I have been with a lot of guys, and I have never seen anyone hit it as good as he does.”
Matthews has finished tied for 41st, tied for 56th, tied for 34th and tied for 10th in the four tournaments he made the cut for so far this year, resulting in a season’s earnings of $19,329.
Both Maslany and Lehman believe Matthews will make it to the next level. It is just a matter of when.
“I don’t want to jinx him or anything, but within the next year he will be on the big tour,” Lehman said. “He just has that kind of firepower and next-generation game that can kind of take over.”
“Realistically, it takes one really good week and one solid week to make it,” Matthews said. “I have 20 more tournaments left, and I think it is a reasonable possibility that I get there. It is all about fine-tuning my game and just putting it all together.”
Matt Adams is hosting The Skill Code on Golf Channel on Monday January 29 at 7pm ET with Cameron McCormick, the 2015 PGA Teacher of the year and coach to 3-time major champion Jordan Spieth. Cameron will unlocks the secrets to building championship golf skills. The Skill Code will each Monday nights at 7PM est on Golf Channel.
In this 12-part series McCormick will attempt to correct the misconceptions and mistakes that for nearly a century have been occurring in the golf instruction industry. Cameron McCormick believes the golfer needs to expand his/her basic understanding of why the ball reacts a certain way to his/her swing and once this is understood and processed, the golfer should be able to move in a positive direction to improve his/her golf game.
*Series available for purchase since November 2017 via Revolution Golf
Airtimes on Golf Channel:
Every Monday at 7pm ET, premiering January 29
GREAT ABACO, Bahamas – Will Wilcox has made 149 starts across the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour, in addition to countless other amateur, college and mini-tour events.
Wilcox considers last week’s The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay — playing on a sponsor invite and knowing he needed a top-25 finish to keep his season going — as one of the most stressful weeks of his golf career.
Will Wilcox found himself tied atop the leaderboard at 6-under-par at The Great Abaco Classic after feeling intense pressure at the Great Exuma Classic. (Kevin Prise/PGA TOUR)
“My hands were shaking when I first teed off last week,” said Wilcox, who entered the season with only past champion status. “It was a lot of pressure … just a do-or-die moment. I’ve had a few in my career, and I’ve been lucky enough to get it done.”
Indeed, Wilcox rose up with a T13 finish to extend his season to this week’s The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club. Most importantly, the finish will ensure him a strong position in the reshuffle that takes place after next month’s Club Colombia Championship.
Wilcox teed off at 6:55 a.m. Sunday in the opening round at The Abaco Club, and the peaceful setting matched his demeanor. Knowing that his season isn’t on the line this week, like it was in Exuma, the Alabama native produced a 6-under 66 to hold a share of the opening-round lead, with play suspended due to darkness.
The 31-year-old struggled to find success for the majority of 2017; he struggled to find a comfort level on the greens, and he missed all four cuts in the Web.com Tour Finals.
Wilcox discovered an alignment problem during the offseason, though. With the help of a mirror and some alignment tools, as well as Golf Channel’s Martin Hall, he got ‘going in the right direction.’
“I’ve always been lucky enough … to make putts just doing whatever felt right,” Wilcox said. “Basically what happened is I went too far in one direction. I kept opening my stance, opening my stance, and then the clubhead was aimed incorrectly.
“So you’ve got two competing factors, and then you have no idea where the putter face is with the ball. Fortunately, it was something that simple, but it took 30 days to where it felt normal. Now, it feels great.”
The three-month break between the Web.com Tour Championship and the season opener allowed Wilcox to ‘really grind on my putting’ – he figures he averaged two or three three-putts per round in 2017, and he knew that needed to change if he wanted to see better results this season.
So far, so good. Markedly improved putting, coupled with a swing tweak made about a month ago, give Wilcox reason to believe that better days are ahead.
“I knew that what I was working on was good, and you can feel it in your hands and the way the ball was coming out, and increased distance when you start hitting it better.” Wilcox said. “And the putting was just getting better and better and better throughout the offseason.
“On the first tee today, I was totally relaxed, other than it being pretty dark out. Now that last week is over with, I’m really feeling alright.”
THE POWER OF THREE
PRO GOLFER AND FINANCIAL TITAN TO SUPPORT OHIO NON PROFIT
Cleveland, Ohio, January 12, 2018 – Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial and OhioGuidestone, a nonprofit that serves over 36-thousand families, announce a partnership with professional golfer and Ohio native, Justin Lower.
The collaboration offers various components such as raising funds to help children and families served by OhioGuidestone and public awareness of the excellent work of both OhioGuidestone and Modern Woodmen, Fraternal Financial.
Specifically, Modern Woodmen plans to donate $100 per birdie Justin Lower makes on the 2018 Web.com Tour to OhioGuidestone. In addition, Lower plans to sport both organization logos on his apparel during the Web.com Tour. For Lower, the partnership is part of his journey.
“I had the opportunity to visit some of the youth served by OhioGuidestone,” said Lower. “I was so impressed with the work OhioGuidestone is doing to help break the cycle of poverty for Ohio children and families, I knew I wanted to find a way to be involved and help out. It really put things in perspective for me, of just how fortunate I am to chase my dream as a professional golfer.”
Justin Lower, professional golfer
Since 1883, Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial, a financial planning giant, has brought people together and supported communities. They are the nation’s third -largest fraternal benefit society in terms of assets. This new partnership builds upon its current relationship with OhioGuidestone,
“Supporting OhioGuidestone’s children and families has been an honor and a privilege for our fraternal members. Our joint passion to strengthen families and communities continues to grow through our partnership, and we are delighted to give back in this new and innovative initiative.” – Brian Souder, Managing Partner, Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial.
OhioGuidestone is a 154-year-old non-profit organization that helps families, children and individuals who face some of life’s most challenging situations, including mental illness, addiction, abuse and behavioral issues. Headquartered in Berea, Ohio, we have grown to serve over 36,000 children and families in Ohio.
“We are honored to have this national platform to showcase the great work we accomplish in Ohio and grateful for the generosity of Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial. We give Justin all of our heartfelt support as he golfs for our kids.” – Cindy Naegele, Vice President of Advancement and Communications for OhioGuidestone
Justin Lower is a native of Canal Fulton, Ohio and a graduate of Malone University where he was crowned National Champion, and was recognized with the Jack Nicklaus and David Toms Award as one of the top college collegiate golfers in the country. In 2018, Justin will play full-time on the Web.com Tour. PGA Tour stars such as Jim Furyk, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Jason Day and many more once competed on the Web.com Tour on their path to the PGA Tour.